TODAY FROM AMERICA AND THAILAND:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA AND THAILAND:
At some point shortly before one leaves on a trip or the like, whatever else you may do it still feels like waiting for the trip to begin. I do things now just like before, chauffeur Hayden, play on my computer, eat and sleep but in my mind I have already left and am just waiting for my body to catch up.
The sudden change in the weather has left the trees undecided between in dressing in red or brown leaves for the season and so, in sadness, they just decided to drop them and enter the holidays naked. The rains came for a few days grey and cold. Then it was time to leave. I teared up at the station as I hugged H. He asked me not to cry. Then I shook Dick’s hand and they drove off. While standing on the platform I remembered that I had left my glasses on the table by the bed. I called Dick, He returned and we drove back to the house retrieved the glasses and repeated the leave-taking.
After spending a few hours with my sister and brother-in-law I flew off back to Thailand. Upon arrival, I immediately went to my apartment and went to sleep for the next 20 hours. The tail end of the rainy season hovers over the city leaving the temperature comfortably in the high 80’s. I a few days I hope to bestir myself enough to venture beyond the one block from my apartment to the restaurant where I eat.
Local television news is filled with images of Obama’s visit; meeting with the King, visiting temples, traveling to the newly liberalized Myanmar and attending the ASEAN conference in Cambodia. It is interesting to see how much he appears to be admired by most people in Southeast Asia in contrast to the hatred directed at him by the opposing party back in the US.
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:
Thailand is the world’s second-largest pick-up truck market after the US. It also holds the Guinness records for longest condom chain, most couples married underwater and most Mini Coopers in a convoy (444 cars parked to spell out ‘Long Live the King’). Thailand has a 92.6% literacy rate though reading anything other than the newspaper or comic books is regarded as an eccentric.
2. Where have you gone Bevo Francis?
Sixty eight years after the great Clarence “Bevo” Francis of Rio Grande college set the single game scoring mark for basketball by scoring 113 points, a sophomore at Grinnell College bettered that mark by scoring 136 in a single game. I am crushed. Does anyone still remember Bevo?
MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:
An old man’s memories: Donald Lundy (Cont.)
I always felt that I wanted to be Don’s friend more that he wanted to be mine. Everyone liked him, as well they should. During that time, when we were children, he had not yet blossomed into the star athlete he became during high school. He was just Don. He seemed to find the world about him somewhat humorous. He smiled at almost everything. A sly smile that came on with a rolling of his lips as though he had first to enjoy its taste before sharing it with everyone else.
By the time we began Junior high school we became friends with a boy named Dean Wilkes. Dean lived in one of the houses on top of the ridge adjacent to Bronxville. It was a small tract home with a family room in the basement. As far as I recall none of the other members of our group lived in a house owned by their family. To us Wilkes house was the closest thing to a palace that we knew of. We formed our official gang in Wilkes basement. We cleverly named it, “The Skull Gang.” Each of us sported a cheap ring made into a skull as evidence of our membership. Despite the fact that as gangs of the era go we were one in name only, the cops in the town began to stop and question us whenever we walked down the street.
Wilkes wanted to become a soldier. He liked to play war in his back yard, an overgrown weed filled lot. We thought he was weird to be still playing games like that at that age. But, we humored Wilkes and played along. Interestingly, Don who was the most amused of all of us was the best at it.
My parents sent me to different schools than the other children I played with. They would lie about our address in order to get me into the “better” schools usually in Eastchester a town that bordered Tuckahoe and was not restricted too much. Later they sent me off to a parochial high school named after a fascist Cardinal suspected of war crimes during WWII. I only went to the same school as Don and the other kids for one year when I attended junior high school. As a result my relationships with the other members of our gang was often tenuous. We also moved around a lot eventually moving to the nearby city of Yonkers.
It was a surprise to me and I imagine to the rest of us to to discover what a superior athlete Don proved to be in High School. Before High School Don rarely participated with the rest of us in the ceaseless rounds of sports through the year.(continued)
I received the following comment from Don’s son in response to my post to him that I share with you in my previous “This and that…” post.
“Great Story. And I can picture you guys doing that and rattling the cages of the Bronxville residents. My parents were married in 1966 and lived in Yonkers (near cross Country Shopping Center) where I lived until I was in the 6th Grade, then Hartsdale then we moved to Pasadena, CA. My mother was from Bronxville and my brother and I spent many a day after school hanging out at my grandmothers house next to the Bronxville HS. Having one grandmother living in Tuckahoe & one in Bronxville I understand the contrast between the two towns. I still remember some of my friends in Bronxville being afraid to go into Tuckahoe, as though it was worst or most dangerous place in the world.
Would be an honor to meet you too. But it will have to happen in Los Angeles. Unfortunately have not been to Tuckahoe in years.
2012: “The latest estimate shows life expectancy for white women without a high school diploma was 73.5 years, compared with 83.9 years for white women with a college degree or more. For white men, the gap was even bigger: 67.5 years for the least educated white men compared with 80.4 for those with a college degree or better.
The dropping life expectancies have helped weigh down the United States in international life expectancy rankings, particularly for women. In 2010, American women fell to 41st place, down from 14th place in 1985, in the United Nations rankings. Among developed countries, American women sank from the middle of the pack in 1970 to last place in 2010, according to the Human Mortality Database.”
A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
“You are not a loan.”
Exclusions from adjusted gross income are the largest drain on tax revenues at this time (even larger than the Bush Tax cut on the wealthy [only about $1-200 million yr.]). They are also one of the primary means by which the wealthy avoid paying the same rate of taxes as most of the rest of us (I can assure you, I took full advantage of them in the past). They probably are as much to blame for the increasing disparity of wealth in the nation as the Bush Tax cuts. For example, costs of carrying out a trade or business for non-employees could include things like yachts excluded from gross income by claims that they are used to conduct business meetings. Except perhaps for low-income self-employed individuals, it is difficult to conceive an individual (not a corporation) honestly requiring more than 15% of his and her income to carry out a trade or business. Instead of searching for supposed specific tax “loopholes,” that could be closed, one approach has been to urge that Congress simply consider capping of these exclusions at say 15-20% of Gross Income? This would discourage the most outrageous tax avoidance by accounting scams in one fell swoop and reform the tax code as well. It should not affect most taxpayers since it would fall most heavily on those who can afford high-priced tax attorneys to argue that the above mentioned yacht is a business necessity.
Similarly, Itemized deductions and lower dividend and capital gains rates allow people like a recent candidate for President to pay taxes at a lower rate than a secretary or almost anyone who actually works for a living and earns a salary or wages. Why not, some urge, limit the itemized deductions, dividend and capital gains rates to 15-20% of taxable income for people earning over $150,000? This will have the unintended but probably positive consequence of encouraging those earning less that $150,000 to invest more. It would not have the negative impact on housing construction as those who oppose eliminating the deduction fear, but instead provide a premium for lower cost middle class affordable housing and discourage the unwary from spending more than they can afford on their homes.
Obamacare already addresses the above in part. In order to pay for the program, the legislation imposes a 3.8% surcharge on investment income (dividends etc.) for those earning over $200,000. Also, the program places a cap on flexible spending plans and a tax on “Cadillac” medical plans, two programs that discriminate among employees of corporations allowing the wealthier to reduce their tax burden in excess of and at the expense of those less so.
According to one analysis, unless Congress compromises, on January 1, dividend taxes for those in the top tax bracket will jump from the current 15% back to the Clinton-era 39.6%. Add to this then the new 3.8% surcharge to pay for Obamacare, the top bracket for federal dividend taxes will nearly triple on January 1, from 15% to 43.4%.
Caps or limits on deductions and other tax avoidance options could reduce Congressional disputes about the appropriate rate for taxing unearned income or whether the middle class should be entitled to a tax deduction on the mortgage interest they pay on their homes. This also avoids forcing Boehner to identify those so-called specific tax loopholes he would be willing to close.
Note: the refundable tax credit was a Republican (Reagan) tax program to discourage the working poor from choosing to go on to welfare when their wages on the private market dropped below what one could make on the dole. I would keep that program intact even though it is an indirect subsidy to business. At least everyone sort of benefits.
The administrations plan actually does a little of both; increase the tax rate for the most wealthy and close some of the loopholes like those described above.
According to Goldman Sachs they expect the following to happen:
The agreement that policymakers will (hopefully) reach before year end seems likely to involve an increase in tax rates from current levels and it could also involve a limitation in tax preferences. Our fiscal assumptions for 2013 include a tax increase equivalent to allowing the upper income tax cuts to expire. This amount–$56bn in 2013 and a little more than $800bn over ten years–is halfway between the President’s proposals and what Republicans would prefer.
The White House seems likely to succeed in raising at least this much revenue, though it remains to be seen whether it will come in one agreement at year-end, or a two-stage process involving a debate on more comprehensive tax reform next year.
B. God speaks:
“Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you bald head! Go up, you bald head!” So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the Lord. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.”
5. Kings 2:23
Do not mess with bald men they are beloved of God.
Does this includes gay bald men and bald liberals as well as Gary Williams?
C. More nouns of association:
1. A flush of plumbers
2. A Rand of Objectivists
3. A yap of Chihuahuas
4. An ogle of office boys
5. A descent of relatives
6. A flourish of strumpets.
“The things that we love tell us what we are.”
“Twinkies are to food what Lindsay Lohan is to culture.”
This proves beyond a doubt that education like science and truth are liberal plots. Actually, like many charts such as this one, it is mostly a set up since it fails to indicate how those over 25 with a college degree actually voted in each state. On the other hand, it was based on data from Faux News so it should be ________. Choose one from: correct, incorrect, full of shit, ordained by God.
She also is an immigrant and has balls. Instead of moving to Australia, how about just moving their Prime Minister into the White House? I love Julia Gaillard. She is a right-wing liberal who takes no prisoners.